Stomach acid/contents can come back up into the back of your mouth, this can be due to positioning/posture, weak muscles (incl. PEG tube feed)
If stomach contents are inhaled into the lungs instead of swallowed back into stomach, this can increase the risk of getting aspiration pneumonia. Signs that this is happening can be:
- pain/rubbing chest during/straight after meals
- vomiting after meals
- coughing outside meals, especially in the mornings.
To manage this avoid:
- very acidic foods
- high fat foods
- spicy foods
- fizzy drinks
- large heavy meals or seek advice from a GP for medication/further investigation.
Swallowing problems can also make it difficult to swallow saliva, and you may see saliva loss from lips
Some medications can increase saliva production, making it harder to swallow
Reflux may increase production of saliva.
Can be caused by medication, dehydration, mouth breathing at night causing saliva can become thick and sticky making it difficult to swallow. This in turn creates a higher risk of aspiration
Give oral care to clear thick saliva – use toothbrush (avoid pink swabs – choking risk)
Then offer drinks for hydration
If you notice any changes in saliva appearance or management e.g. increased coughing on saliva or loss from lips – it is important to discuss with your GP in case of a treatable infection/condition.